It was strange just being there as a curious onlooker. Unlike my politicking days up at Pier 63, I mostly don't know the cast of characters who were presenting concepts; as I mentioned, I'd completely lost track of what happened after Cirque du Soleil so I sort of went in with no idea of what was going to be presented and no preconceived notions beyond something of a personal preference for grassroots efforts.
Personal preferences are subject to change, though.
I don't think I'm going to have time to write up a full report but here were a few impressions I threw out on Facebook when I got home last night (slightly edited):
"I don't know the cast of characters in this section of the park at all, but there's the grassroots-looking set (who I really wanted to like, being a fan of grassroots efforts) and then there's the men in suits, and the men in the suits presented what looked to my uneducated eye like a fairly practical reworking of what's there (including boating), and the grassroots guys were pushing for what appeared (again to my untutored eye) to be a pretty extreme (and expen$ive) redesign, funded by sticking a couple of apartment buildings in on the water's edge, facing the pier. I don't want to rush to judgement when it's not territory I really know, but I found myself leaning towards the proposal of the suits."
"Weirdest moment of tonight's meeting: one of the presenters, dismissively referring to a picture showing the south side of Pier 40 (home to 3 separate and complementary boating organizations) - 'There's nothing you can do with that'. Really? Nothing? What really sort of threw me about that was that it was the group that had styled itself as more of a community, grassroots type. Wasn't expecting them to be so dismissive of the boating, somehow -"
"Maybe I should have submitted my question. I'd written one down about whether the Champions really meant to dismiss the 3 boating groups that call that strip of 'nothing' home as completely as it sounded like they did, but I refrained from submitting because I know so little about that particular community's politics.Refrained from....chickened out...decided to leave to...the...actual residents, really."
"The people at the organizations there (Downtown Boathouse branch, New York Kayak, and Village Community Boathouse) all know what they're doing, who they're dealing with, and I suspect they're already well along with how best to deal with the situation."
I'll be interested to see what develops. The chair of Community Board 2 asked that the concept proposals be made available for posting on the C.B. 2 website - I'll try to keep an eye out for those and link when they're up.
Oh - and what did happen with the Cirque du Soleil? Apparently both proposals that were submitted in response to that RFP were dismissed as economically unfeasible. Pier 40 is in a tough situation - dilapidated and going down fast. Seems like something needs to happen soon, or it'll be too late for anything to happen at all.